Itasca, IL – The National Safety Council today released traffic fatality estimates for the upcoming Labor Day weekend. The Council estimates 400 traffic fatalities will occur over the holiday weekend and another 38,800 medically consulted injuries will be sustained from motor vehicle collisions. For the past six years, the Labor Day weekend has averaged 14.6 percent more traffic fatalities than similar non-holiday periods.
The Council also estimates 142 people may survive the holiday weekend because they will have worn safety belts, while another 102 lives would have been saved if all had worn safety belts. Because Labor Day weekend is one of the busiest and deadliest times on U.S. roadways, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will enforce a National Impaired Driving Crackdown from Aug. 19 to Sept. 5. During this time, law enforcement officials will focus their attention on impaired drivers.
The Council suggests the following guidelines for a safe and fun holiday weekend:
- If you are drinking, do not drive
- If you plan to drink, designate a non-drinking driver or plan for alternative transportation, such as a taxi
- Support the strengthening and vigorous enforcement of impaired-driving laws
- Young drivers are at particular risk to be involved in alcohol-related crashes (If there is a young driver in your family, strictly enforce a zero tolerance policy with alcohol – all states have a minimum drinking age of 21)
- Your best defense against a drunk driver is wearing your safety belt, so buckle up
There are a number of other dangers to Labor Day weekend drivers besides impaired driving. Follow these additional tips to stay safe:
- Establish and enforce a driver’s distraction-free zone, especially in cars equipped with electronic devices including cell phones, video games and global positioning systems
- Make sure all passengers are buckled up and children are in age-appropriate safety seats
- Allow plenty of travel time to avoid frustration and diminish the impulse to speed
- Drive defensively and exercise caution, especially during inclement weather
The National Safety Council (nsc.org) saves lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the roads through leadership, research, education and advocacy.